Midge Ure brings Vienna and Ultravox back to Ipswich for anniversary gig
PUBLISHED: 19:56 13 December 2018
Midge Ure, one of the prime innovators of 1980s electronic pop, will be marking the 40th anniversary of Ultravox and the hit album Vienna with a special tour. Arts Editor Andrew Clarke takes a walk down an atmospheric memory lane
Midge Ure, front man of 1980s cult band Ultravox, songwriter and co-creator of Band-Aid and Live Aid, is returning to Ipswich to mark a musical milestone.
Midge and his band Electronica will be turning back the clock 40 years as they re-introduce audiences to the hit album Vienna, with its distinctive, chart-topping title track, and Visage’s Fade to Grey.
They will be playing the Ipswich Corn Exchange on Sunday October 20, 2019 as part of The 1980 Tour. Speaking about the inspiration for the gigs, Midge said that as we approach the end of a turbulent decade, it has reminded him of a similar political landscape at the end of the 1970s.
He said that he wants to promote a feeling of optimism rather than fear and doubt.
“At the end of the 1970s momentous change was afoot in Britain and the world – in society, politics, fashion and culture – and the musical landscape was also about to change forever. The guitar-driven dominance that had propelled rock and punk throughout the decade was about to end, as synthesizers signalled the sound of the future and video transformed the look of the pop charts. The 1980s were about to explode into life and nothing would be the same again.”
At the heart of this seismic leap into a futuristic new dawn were two records that set the template for much of what was to follow. Visage’s single ‘Fade To Grey’ from the band’s debut eponymous album and Ultravox’s single ‘Vienna’, from the album of the same name, were global hits that shared the same stark ambience, European aesthetic and electronic heart. The albums that launched those landmark singles expanded the sonic palette and brought the art-school alternative into the very centre of the mainstream.
Both records were co-written, recorded and produced by Midge Ure, one of the rising characters in British music, and not only transformed the charts around the globe but his life in the process.
“Autumn 1979 was a pivotal point in my career trajectory,” Midge Ure explains. “Over the previous two years I had grown from ‘pop band’ (Slik) to ‘post punk band’ (The Rich Kids) to being a stand in guitarist for Thin Lizzy. Over the course of autumn into winter 1979, while working on the Visage project with Billy Currie, I was invited to join Ultravox. The work we did that winter on the ‘Vienna’ album was an exhilarating rush of creativity the likes of which I had never experienced before.
“Forty years later I want to celebrate this period and as we pass from 2019 into 2020 play the ‘Vienna’ album in its entirety along with highlights from the eponymous ‘Visage’ album.
“Four decades on, as we come towards the end of another turbulent decade, momentous change is once again afoot in Britain and the world. Can we face the next decade with the optimism and futuristic brightness that flooded the 1980s, and will there be a new cultural birth that will change music, fashion and society?
“The 1980 Tour reminds us that these things are possible.”
Both ‘Vienna’ and ‘Visage’ were the sound of the future… and yet still sound unearthly, romantic, impossibly beautiful and full of promise.
Brought to life by Midge Ure and Band Electronica, this is the very first time in the 40 years since it was made that the ‘Vienna’ album will be performed in its entirety. It is also the first time that many of the songs from the debut Visage album will be played live.
Tickets for Midge Ure’s The 1980 Tour at the Ipswich Corn Exchange on Sunday October 20, 2019, go on sale on Friday December 14 at 9am.